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Stem Cell Rev. 2012 Mar;8(1):1-15. doi: 10.1007/s12015-011-9261-7.

LIF-dependent signaling: new pieces in the Lego.

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Univ. de Bordeaux, CIRID, UMR5164, F-33000, Bordeaux, France.


LIF, a member of the IL6 family of cytokine, displays pleiotropic effects on various cell types and organs. Its critical role in stem cell models (e.g.: murine ES, human mesenchymal cells) and its essential non redundant function during the implantation process of embryos, in eutherian mammals, put this cytokine at the core of many studies aiming to understand its mechanisms of action, which could benefit to medical applications. In addition, its conservation upon evolution raised the challenging question concerning the function of LIF in species in which there is no implantation. We present the recent knowledge about the established and potential functions of LIF in different stem cell models, (embryonic, hematopoietic, mesenchymal, muscle, neural stem cells and iPSC). We will also discuss EVO-DEVO aspects of this multifaceted cytokine.

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